Standing ovation in Spain for Fakenham cerebral palsy sufferer Joan

Joan Latta during her visit to Spain.

Joan Latta during her visit to Spain. - Credit: Archant

A north Norfolk woman left with cerebral palsy after being starved of oxygen at birth has visited Spain for a speaking tour.

Joan Latta, 23, from Fakenham, visited schools, colleges and clubs to raise awareness about living with the condition.

She said she wants to demonstrate that living with cerebral palsy doesn't have to stop people from achieving their dreams.

Miss Latta spoke at Mayfair Academy, the English International College and a lunch time club in southern Spain, where she was also interviewed by the local newspaper.

'It was a fantastic experience to be in Spain and I was very grateful for the reception I received,' she said. 'I hope that my talks helped to inspire some of the people I spoke with, igniting the spark that motivates them to achieve their own goals.'

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Yvonne Stevenson, headteacher, at the English International College, said: 'Joan received a standing ovation and several wanted to talk to her at the end.'

Annie Palace, headteacher from the Mayfair Academy, said: 'We have so much admiration for all that you have achieved.'

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Miss Latta set up her business, Cerebral Palsy Alive and Kicking, with help from The Prince's Trust.

When she was born, she was starved of oxygen for 28 minutes and she had no heartbeat. Doctors spent over an hour trying to re-establish her breathing. When they did, Joan was tube fed, she couldn't move her left arm and her neck wasn't strong enough to hold her head up.

After surviving the first year, doctors diagnosed long term brain damage and said she wouldn't be able to go to school like able bodied children.

She attended mainstream infant, junior and high schools in Fakenham, before going on to complete a BTEC in health and social care at City College in Norwich. She is now studying for an Open University degree alongside running her business.

For more, see her website here.

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